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Recap: Iowa State Falls to TCU Despite Strong Start

Paul Rhoads punted on an upset bid after an entertaining first half.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A strong first half effort from the players and coaches went for naught today, as ISU was outscored 31-0 after the first quarter. The second half was a full display of questionable play calling, regrettable coaching decisions, and poor tackling as the Cyclones never remotely threatened the Horned Frogs after the intermission.

Iowa State came out swinging on their initial drive with a shot downfield to Dondre Daley, but looked to be stalled after some short runs and a false start. However, Rhoads reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a successful fake punt which lead to a Joshua Thomas touchdown from two yards out. This drive had a little of everything Iowa State fans have been clamoring for all season long. A throw down the field, successful running and ball control offense by Mike Warren and Thomas and Paul Rhoads taking chances on 4th down in opponent's territory.

The Cyclones were quickly humbled though, as TCU only needed 3 plays and 46 seconds after a 59 yard kickoff return to even the score.

TCU looked to gain control as Trevone Boykin finished off an 82-yard touchdown drive with a pass to Kolby Listenbee, but then Allen Lazard happened. The Cyclones finally let Lanning throw the ball and he rewarded them with a back shoulder dart to Lazard, who was interfered with, but still managed to snag the ball, break a tackle and take it 74 yards for six. Lanning was never seen again.

Momentum seemed to be shifting Iowa State's way after the Cyclones recovered an onside kick, unfortunately for the Clones though, Trever Ryen touched the ball before it went 10-yards and TCU looked like it was off to the races again on a short field. Nigel Tribune had other ideas. With Iowa State's back to the end zone, Tribune managed to force and recover a fumble from TCU's freshman standout KeVontae Turpin at the 9-yard line.

After methodically moving the ball down the field, Iowa State looked to have a touchdown on a Richardson pass to Quenton Bundrage, but Bundrage was stripped as he fell out of bounds and the play was eventually ruled incomplete after the Big 12 refs did their usual song and dance. The Cyclones were not to be denied though, as Richardson went right back to Bundrage to pick up the first down before Mike Warren finished the drive on a 4-yard touchdown run.


The second quarter started ominously for Iowa State as TCU capped off a 7-play, 69-yard drive with a Boykin pass to his wide open tight end, Charlie Reid. The ensuing drive for Iowa State seemed to be destined for the end zone after Rhoads elected to go for it on fourth and inches near midfield and two drive-extending penalties on TCU including a targeting call on Denzel Johnson, but the Cyclones were unable to capitalize as Mike Warren dropped the option pitch from Richardson in the red zone.

After the two squads exchanged punts, TCU got reacquainted with the scoreboard just before the halftime whistle with a 23-yard field goal by Jaden Oberkrom. With the Horned Frogs leading 24-21 as the teams headed to the locker room, here's how Travis Hines summed up the first half of play:

TCU marched right down the field to pay dirt on their opening possession. Trailing 31-21, Iowa State looked to answer and was able to move the football to TCU's side of the 50, but Nick Orr, whom had been picked on in coverage much of the first half, returned the favor by forcing a fumble as he blindsided Richardson.

After exchanging punts once again, post-2011 Rhoads reared his ugly head by punting on 4th and 3 on the plus side of midfield. After just three plays, TCU was back at the punting line of scrimmage and the Horned Frogs eventually capitalized on the drive as Boykin ran his way in to put the Frogs up 38-21.

The rout was on.

Josh Doctson later housed a 42-yarder from Boykin and although a majority of Iowa State's drives penetrated TCU's side of the field, Mark Mangino's offense was unable to put any points on the board after the first quarter. A relatively empty Jack Trice Stadium welcomed a final whistle that put an end to the 45-21 beat down. Rhoads noted to the ESPN crew that adjustments needed to be made at halftime to finish off the upset, as it turns out those "adjustments" were unsuccessful.

Sam Richardson finished 22/36 for 251 yards and Lazard shined with 5 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown on Joel Lanning's only throw. TCU was paced by Boykin's Heisman-like line of 27/32 for 436 yards and 4 touchdowns with Josh Doctson pulling in 10 receptions for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns.

TCU's win improves their record to 7-0 (4-0). The loss drops Iowa State to 2-4 (1-2) at the midpoint of the season as the Cyclones head to Waco for a difficult matchup with the Bears next Saturday. That game will kickoff at 11:00am on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.